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Alleged Senior al-Qaeda member
|Born||1961 (age 58–59)|
|Alternate name||Abdul Hadi al Iraqi|
|Charge(s)||CHARGE I: VIOLATION OF 10 U.S.C. § 950t(6), DENYING QUARTER|
|Status||Was previously held in the CIA's black sites|
Abdul Hadi al Iraqi (Arabic: عبد الهادي العراقي) is the nom de guerre of Nashwan Abdulrazaq Abdulbaqi ( نشوان عبد الرزاق عبد الباقي ), an alleged senior member of al-Qaeda who is now in US custody at Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. The U.S. government alleges the man they have in custody is Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, but he claims his name is Nashwan al-Tamir. It is expected that this will be explored in the current Military Commissions proceedings.
Al-Iraqi was born in Mosul in 1961 and is ethnically Kurdish. He speaks Arabic, Urdu, the Waziri tribal dialect of Pashtu and a courtly form of Persian. He served in the Iraqi Army, and fought for Iraq, during the Iran-Iraq War. Then he travelled to Afghanistan to repel the Soviet invasion.
According to information about him provided by the Pentagon, Hadi was a key paramilitary commander in Afghanistan during the late 1990s, before taking charge of cross-border attacks against US and coalition troops from 2002 to 2004. He was accused of commanding attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan, and of involvement in plots to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Following the American invasion in 2001, he clashed with Ahmed Khadr arguing that front line battle would prove more useful than guerilla tactics around Shagai, Pakistan.
Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi is one of Usama bin Laden’s top global deputies, personally chosen by bin Laden to monitor al Qaeda operations in Iraq. Al-Hadi was the former Internal Operations Chief for al Qaeda. He has been associated with numerous attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan and has been known to facilitate communication between al Qaeda in Iraq and al Qaeda. Al-Hadi rose to the rank of Major in Saddam Hussein’s army before moving to Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet Union. He has a reputation for being a skilled, intelligent, and experienced commander and is an extremely well respected al Qaeda leader. He has commanded numerous terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Al-Hadi is reportedly still in contact with Usama bin Laden.
The Newsweek article claimed that al Iraqi brokered a 2005 reconciliation between Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Newsweek asserted that bin Laden had failed to anticipate the strength of the Iraqi's anti-occupation resistance, and that he dispatched al Iraqi to take charge of establishing an Al-Qaeda presence in the resistance. Newsweek asserted that Zarqawi had left a bad impression on his fellow veterans of the struggle to evict the Soviet invaders, and that bin Laden didn't trust him. However, al Iraqi recommended that Al-Qaeda would be better served by naming Zarqawi the head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq than by trying to compete with him for volunteers and establish a parallel effort—explaining the reconciliation.
It was reported in January 2002 that someone with the same pseudonyms Abdul-Hadi al-Iraqi and Abu Abdullah had been captured in Afghanistan. That person was also described as a training camp commander. However, despite these coincidences, the two suspects are now known to be distinct people.
A captured letter dated June 13, 2002, and thought to be from Saif al-Adel, mentions an Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi who is quite senior in al-Qaeda and is at large (probably in Afghanistan) at the time of that writing. The US DoD statement says that Abdul-Hadi "during 2002–04, was in charge of cross-border attacks in Afghanistan" and that prior to his capture he "was trying to return to his native country, Iraq, to manage al-Qai`da's affairs and possibly focus on operations outside Iraq against Western targets".
On April 27, 2007, it was reported that Abdul Hadi Al-Iraqi was in custody in Guantanamo Bay. He was previously held by the CIA. The BBC reported that US sources told them Al-Iraqi was arrested "late last year".
On September 6, 2006, US President George W. Bush officially confirmed that the CIA maintained a secret network of offshore interrogation camps, when he announced that fourteen "high value detainees" had been transferred to Guantanamo.
Bush claimed that the transfer of these fourteen men had emptied the CIA's secret interrogation camps. Critics pointed out that Bush had not announced the closure of the camps. The date of Al-Iraqi's capture has not been made known. It is not clear whether Al-Iraqi entered the CIA's network of secret interrogation camps before or after Bush's announcement.
The Department of Defense announced on August 9, 2007 that all fourteen of the "high-value detainees" who had been transferred to Guantanamo from the CIA's black sites, had been officially classified as "enemy combatants". Although judges Peter Brownback and Keith J. Allred had ruled two months earlier that only "illegal enemy combatants" could face military commissions, the Department of Defense waived the qualifier and said that all fourteen men could now face charges before Guantanamo military commissions.
Al Iraqi has had a writ of habeas corpus filed on his behalf.
Abdul Hadi al Iraqi suffers from a spinal condition. Camp authorities flew in a neuro-surgical team for an emergency operation, hours before Cuba was struct by Hurricane Irma. According to Carol Rosenberg, writing in the Miami Herald, his lawyers blamed the severity of his spinal condition on a decade of medical mistreatment. Military spokesmen, on the other hand, pointed to him as an example of the high quality of the treatment provided to captives.
According to his lawyers a CT scan performed in January 2017 pointed out the need for surgery. Camp authorities only scheduled his surgery after he lost all feeling in his legs, and became incontinent.
On September 15, 2017, his lawyers announced that he needed another operation on his spine, in his neck.
As a commander and accountant for al-Qaeda, Abdal Hadi ran both the al-Qaeda Army and maintained an office in the Ashara Guest House in Kart-E-Parwan province in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, awaiting trial on charges he led the al-Qaida army in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, has been using a wheelchair and experiencing pain with a bulging lower-back disc from a decade-long degenerative disease, according to his lawyers, who blamed years of "useless treatment" at Guantánamo for the situation.
Earlier this month, as Hurricane Irma was headed Guantánamo’s way, the captive became incontinent, and the war-on-terror prison scrambled a special neurosurgery team to the base in southeast Cuba to conduct emergency surgery on Hadi’s lower back — a procedure that, according to doctors consulted by defense attorneys, was clearly necessary months ago based on a January CT scan.
Media related to Abdul Hadi Al Iraqi at Wikimedia Commons